In a highly technical ruling, the Supreme Court on Monday said an Obama-era rule change on how Medicare reimbursements to hospitals are made should be done away with, because officials did not follow the proper regulations in implementing it, according to The Hill.
The 7-1 decision ruled for hospitals, which had sued over the 2014 policy, because it had reduced their payments for serving low-income patients due to a change in the payment formula.
Health and Human Services has said the dispute implicates up to $4 billion in payments to hospitals, Health Leaders Media reported.
Justice Neil Gorsuch, in writing the majority opinion, stated "Because affected members of the public received no advance warning and no chance to comment first [on the new policy concerning payment formula], and because the government has not identified a lawful excuse for neglecting its statutory notice-and-comment obligations, we agree with the court of appeals that the new policy cannot stand," according to The Hill.
In a dissenting opinion, Justice Stephen Breyer said it was not necessary for the type of agency action in question to go through the full notice and comment process.
But the majority opinion also pointed out the size and scope of Medicare, emphasizing "even seemingly modest modifications to the program can affect the lives of millions," according to Modern Healthcare.
"As Medicare has grown, so has Congress's interest in ensuring that the public has a chance to be heard before changes are made to its administration," Gorsuch wrote.
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